Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Major fire broke out in Jamnagar refinery

Reliance Industries was likely to take a hit of almost Rs 1,200 crore due to a fire in one of the vacuum gas oil hydrotreater units at its Jamnagar refinery early today. 

A major fire broke out in the Jamnagar refinery of Reliance today. Attempts are being made to control the fire. The fire broke out in unit no. 2 of the crude section of ther refinery.  Fire tenders of the Jamnagar city, Air Force and Rajkot city are being rushed to the spot. The cause of the fire and the number of casualties are not known yet. Fire broke out around 10.30 AM.

Reliance Industries' Jamnagar refinery has a capacity of 660,000 barrels per day and with one of the two vacuum gas oil hydrotreaters out of action for 10-15 days, production was expected to come down by half, sources said, this would particularly hit Reliance Industries' export commitments of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and of some polymer products. Diesel and gasoline comprised nearly 40-45 per cent of the company's total refined product exports of $5.5 billion during the first six months of the current financial year ending September 30. A Reuters report from Singapore says that , "Gasoline markets may firm while high-sulphur crude prices (may) slide" if the vacuum gas oil hydrotreater requires lengthy repairs, The vacuum gas oil hydrotreater unit, which is believed to have been completely gutted in the fire, removes sulphur from crude oil and passes it on to a fluid catalytic cracker unit, which in turn produces gasoline and olefins, which feed the petrochemical units at the Jamnagar refinery. 

Due to the fire, the complex may not be able to run its downstream petrochem plants of paraxylene-PTA and polypropylene. 

According to sources in Reliance Industries, imports of low sulphur sweet crude oil are being thought about, but that may not help Reliance Industries reach full capacity immediately, The removal of the damaged plant and construction of a replacement is expected take more time than predicted by the company, Reliance Industries, which posted a net profit of Rs 2,709 crore on an income of Rs 28,496 crore for the quarter ended September 30, exports diesel and gasoline mainly to SAARC countries and to countries in the north African region. 

Government is taking no chances and has asked state-owned Indian Oil Corp to tie up import of about 100,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas, The fire was not likely to result in the shortage of other fuels as the shortage might be supplemented by imports, Petroleum Secretary MS Srinivasan told a television channel. 

Though Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani told Petroleum Minister Murli Deora there would be no production loss, according to a PTI report, government sources said the shutdown of the hydrotreater unit would result in a shortfall of 120,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas supplies to the domestic market, a small fraction of the overall projected demand of about 12 million tonnes this year. 


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